Traveling for business and for pleasure regularly for more than 15 years now, I would have classified myself as a “clumsy” traveler — I was very unorganized and likely to forget important (if not critical!) items on my trips. I have wasted valuable time and money looking for and buying stuff that I already owned but forgot to pack. And I had a propensity to make the same packing mistakes more than once.
I remember a trip to visit a possible employer for a job interview. I was in a city I was unfamiliar with, and thought I packed everything that was needed. Dressing for the interview that morning with my nicest black suit, I realized that I hadn’t packed an appropriate pair of black dress socks. I figured that showing up with a black suit and gym socks would probably pre-empt any chances of getting the job, but I was also in a downtown area not close to any big box stores. The interview was at 9:00 a.m., and most of the city department stores didn’t open until 9:30 or 10:00. I was in a fix! If it wasn’t for a VERY kind store clerk that opened the door for me early, I would have really been left in an unwinnable situation. (By the way, no one at that company knew that I was wearing a pair of women’s dress socks that day, as that was the only pair the store had that would work.)
From that point forward, I vowed to never forget items on a trip, and I thought about my training in time and project management to come up with a very simple solution. I created a memo in my planner that was a standard pack list for business trips. Every time that I went on a trip, I would check my list as I packed for the trip to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything useful. It was also handy when I packed to go home to make sure I wasn’t forgettting anything in the hotel. And, over time, as I traveled, I kept adding items to the list that I thought would be useful, so the list has grown and evolved over time.
When I switched to the Palm and MS Outlooks platforms a few years ago, I built a standard memo in my memo pad, in the “Business” category, which now acts as my pack list, and I just carry my PDA around with me as I pack to make sure I have everything I need. I even created a few new “specialty” packing lists, including lists for personal trips/vacations, hiking/camping trips, trips to the beach, and even trips where we are taking the baby. These lists also have grown and evolved over time, and are much more inclusive than originally. Now, it is very rare that anything is forgotten.
I have actually posted many of these packing memos on my Web site (www.randalldean.com). You can go to the site, and click on the link for FREE PDA Memo Pad downloads. You’ll find several of the packing lists that I’ve mentioned, as well as a memo that details my daily routine for organizing my information overload and my weekly update process for maintaining the quality of my time management/organization system. I encourage you to visit the site today for these free downloads.
Now you can experience the greatly reduced stress level that accompanies well organized business or personal travel. Maybe you can actually even enjoy your trips now, without the stress and inconvenience of forgotten items.